Finally Dejan Kovacevic is back from his vacation, which means we finally all get to learn what's actually going on. First he reports that the Bucs are interested in starter and Pittsburgh-area native Matt Clement, who was last seen pitching for the Red Sox in 2006. Prior to his arrival in Boston - and his subsequent shoulder surgery - Clement was both reliable and good, but now he's 33 and won't have pitched for almost two years by Opening Day 2008. The Pirates always need starting pitching depth and taking a flyer on a guy who's recovering from an injury might be a way to acquire it cheaply, but beyond that, there are just too many question marks here to know whether this is a good idea, and the chances he'll pitch anything like he did before the surgery are small.
From the same article, the Bucs signed Michel Hernandez to a minor-league deal. Hernandez, 29, is a basic catch-and-throw receiver who doesn't hit AAA pitching all that well, so he'll probably just provide catching depth at Indianapolis.
Elsewhere, Kovacevic writes that, at least publicly, the Pirates won't admit they're looking to trade Jason Bay or Jack Wilson. However, he quotes an anonymous agent who's hearing Bay's name all over the place, so it sounds like there's a good chance Bay could be moved. One thing that comes up over and over in the article is the idea that the Pirates will not be trading players just to dump salaries. Who knows how seriously we should take that, especially since the Pirates already dumped Josh Phelps' salary, but it's still good to hear - Phelps might not have had much value to other teams, but someone like Bay certainly would, and regardless of whether or not his salary actually comes off the books, the Bucs need to make trades for the right reasons.
Kovacevic also reports that Jose Castillo probably won't be with the Bucs in 2008, apparently because he's not a part of the "culture of success" that the new management team has repeatedly mentioned. (Personally, I wonder whether he's not part of the "culture of success" because he has a poor attitude, or because he just stinks.) And Chris Duffy could open the season with Indianapolis, if he isn't traded. This is great to hear - there's really no reason for the Pirates to be messing around with either of these guys anymore.